Revive relationships, not a drowned turtle
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:00 PM
February is a month of love, with a special day allotted Feb. 14 for those who have significant others to celebrate their bond and to be reminded why they cherish this other person. It is a time of roses, chocolates and cards that say "Be mine."
For those who don't have significant others, it is a time to be reminded how lonely and unfair life can be, but I am here to tell you that there are many other ways to celebrate during this special month. It's all about love. And, everyone has someone they love.
I do have a significant other, my beloved husband, but let's put him aside for a moment. I am speaking to those of you who don't. For me, Valentine's Day is a special time because it is the day my brother was born, exactly a year and a half after I popped into this world.
It was the day I met my best friend, the boy I would play with in the dirt, go fishing with and ride bikes alongside. We would discover the world together and get into plenty of trouble.
On that sweet Valentine's Day in 1976, when the world first met my brother and he first met the world, no one could have imagined our endless antics.
Growing up on the beach presented all sorts of unique possibilities. Our favorite pastime was to dig a hole, fill it with jellyfish and cover it with a thin layer of sand, then sit back and watch someone step in it. To our dismay, no one ever did. People came so close!
We found out that you can't revive a drowned turtle with CPR and that boomerangs don't always come back. We spent hours facing off at "Super Mario Brothers" and exploring the world of "Zelda."
We had the unfortunate awakening that it is wrong to carve your name into your neighbor's freshly cemented driveway and that pomegranate juice stains everything.
After searching patches of clover all day, we found that four-leaf clovers do exist. We discovered that the "double-dog dare" was something to take seriously.
We flew kites with gusto and dribbled sand castles with glee. We played Dog Dog Cat instead of Duck Duck Goose. We discovered our grandpop was a great storyteller with many secrets.
We developed a fondness for eating Nerds on a tire swing and found out that adults don't like it when you pick your nose.
We jumped off the carport and learned we couldn't fly. We figured out that together we could eat a whole large pizza. The neighbor's goldfish pond wasn't deep enough to swim in. Fishing for minnows in a bucket with sticks and strings yielded an empty catch.
We painted giant clam shells and then put them back on the beach for others to find. We boogie boarded, body surfed and dug for sand crabs side by side. We bickered and argued as all children do. We entertained ourselves one day by tossing around a pair of dirty underwear we found in the bushes at a local park.
As we grew older, we grew bolder. We made bigger sand castles and squashed them. We dug deeper holes and waited for the tide to come in and make pools.
We often visited the spot where we had written our names in fresh cement so long ago. Even though it had been covered up, you could still faintly make out our names which we proudly showed to our friends.
Then one day, it all came to an end. I left home for college and a year later he left to join the Navy and travel the world. We did not have the Internet or cellphones back then so my heart leapt with glee each time I got a postcard from some far off land such as Hong Kong. These postcards meant everything to me.
It was a long time before I saw him again but when I did, he had the same sparkling mischievous eyes and the dry sense of humor I knew and loved. We went to the movies to see "Braveheart" and with a serious face he asked the cashier for two tickets to "Bigfart." Then he flirted with her as she appeared to wonder if she had heard correctly.
Years went by and we found ourselves no longer rambunctious kids but imperfect adults able to share laughs over countless mishaps. He moved to San Diego. I moved to Fallon. The miles didn't seem to affect our laughter-filled late night phone calls. Today, he still lives in San Diego and I still live in Nevada and we share our daily lives with our own families. There is another woman in his life now, yet, still, every few days we discuss the things going on in our lives and once in a while ponder if our names are still visible in the cement of our old neighbor's driveway.
So, every year when that special day in February rolls around, I always pause to think what that great day brought me, a brother and a best friend.
Even if someone you love was not born on Valentine's Day, this is still a day and a month to celebrate this person and all he or she has brought into your life. You don't need a significant other to appreciate love on Valentine's Day.
If you don't have a laughter-sharing, mayhem-causing brother like mine, send roses to your mom. Give chocolates to your sister. Call your best friend. Relish those memories you have made over the years. Love comes in all forms. It doesn't just melt away like a child's sandcastle.
So here's to you little bro, the king of spit-balling, the wedgie whisperer and the god of gleeking. Happy Valentine's Day and happy birthday.
Heather Hill can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.